Electron microscopy workflows

Electron microscopes reveal hidden wonders that are smaller than the human eye can see

Electron microscopes fire electrons and create images, magnifying micrometer and nanometer structures by up to ten million times, providing a spectacular level of detail, even allowing researchers to view single atoms.

From the mites crawling on our skin to a hidden world inside our own bodies, electron microscopy has revealed epic battles between our immune system and diseases, the tangled mass of fibers that constitutes blood clots, how diseased cells and tissues can wreak havoc on our health, and how our bodies are vibrant ecosystems in their own right that play host to millions of bacteria.

By showing us the structure of materials at the nanoscale, electron microscopy provides a way to understand the link between material composition, structure, and performance, leading to technological advances including smaller, faster computers, chemical sensors, targeted drug delivery, high-performance materials, water filters and many more.

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Discover life-changing answers faster

Basic life processes start in the cell. To understand how cells function and respond to disease or genetic variations, life scientists engage in cellular and structural biology research. Cellular biology explores individual cells and ways in which they are organized into organs and tissues. Structural biologists delve deep into sub-cellular components, organelles and macromolecular structures.

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Single Particle Analysis using cryo-EM

Our highly automated cryo-EM workflow for Single Particle Analysis allows scientists to study protein complexes in their native state, leading to greater insight and understanding in less time.

What is Cryo-EM?

Cryo-EM is a series of techniques utilizing transmission electron microscopes to yield accurate, detailed, 3D models of intricate biological structures at the sub-cellular and molecular scales. These models can reveal interactions that were impossible to visualize previously.

Cellular Analysis using Cryo-Tomography

Explore our cryo-tomography workflow covering live-cell imaging, vitreous freezing, cryo-fluorescence microscopy, sample thinning by focused ion beam microscopy and high-resolution electron cryo-tomography.

Large Volume Analysis

Our novel serial block-face imaging (SBFI) solution enables excellent z-resolution from Multi-Energy Deconvolution SEM (MED-SEM) combined with the efficiency of in situ sectioning, allowing for acquisition of large sample volumes at isotropic resolution.

Integrative Structural Biology

Solving the structure of large dynamic complexes often requires integrating several complementary techniques, such as biomolecular mass spectrometry (MS) and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM)—an approach known as integrative structural biology.

Cryo-TEM Advantages

How Transmission Electron Microscopy complements protein X-ray crystallography and NMR

Innovative materials play essential roles in clean energy, transportation, human health, and industrial productivity. Whether exploring alternative energy sources or developing stronger, lighter materials and sophisticated nanodevices, scientists turn to Thermo Fisher Scientific to help them find answers. Our workflows offer vast exploration and experimentation capabilities. Our expertise helps refine materials imaging, analysis, and characterization. As a result, customers have scaled new heights of discovery and recognition, including winning a Nobel Prize.

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Metals Analysis using Electron Microscopy

Materials Scientists working in metals research are using Thermo Fisher Scientific solutions to gain a deeper understanding of not only the physical properties of steel and alloys, but also to be able to predict their performance in real world conditions. Using workflows to gain understanding of structure-property relationships, from macro to atomic scale, these scientists are making the discoveries that are leading to cleaner production, safer, more durable products and new applications for metals. 

Chemistry for Materials

Materials chemists and engineers today are discovering that electron microscopy can be a powerful tool for their research. With the ability to perform in situ dynamic experiments on materials in their natural states, utilizing unique, dedicated environmental chambers, these scientists are improving selectivity, activity and stability of catalyst particles, as well as engineering high quality polymer-based structures and organic or composite materials, allowing them to meet the growing demand for such materials in today's world. 

Nanodevice Development

Leading MEMS and NEMS engineers are using Thermo Fisher Scientific solutions to build functional devices and fully characterize their physical and mechanical properties. Using CAD data and the highest accuracy beam chemistries to precisely direct the prototyping process, researchers using our solutions are getting their devices to market faster, with greater cost efficiencies. 

Novel Material Research & Fabrication

Materials scientists are turning insights into innovation every day, and electron microscopy plays a major role in the discovery process. With the ability to visualize and understand materials structure and composition and its behavior under varying environmental influences, researchers are able to utilize this new knowledge and turn it into the products and materials that can improve the quality of life around the globe.

Industrial Manufacturing using Electron Microscopy

Industrial Manufacturing customers turn to Thermo Scientific scanning electron microscopes to automatically document thousands of particles per hour, detecting the size and shape of each particle, and also identify the elemental composition of each particle. This valuable information can help manufacturers pinpoint the exact failing part or contamination source saving time, money, and perfecting their manufacturing process. 

Consumer demand is driving the electronics market to produce faster, smaller, cheaper, more power efficient portable devices. Device manufacturers must place a high premium on both time-to-market and device performance . On an operational level, this means working with shrinking geometries, new materials and novel architectures.  At this level of innovation, critical dimensions are simply too small to see or characterize with existing tools.  New, high productivity, increasingly TEM-centric workflows are required to perform this work.

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Pathfinding & Device Development

Semiconductor device manufacturers and designers are pushing the boundaries of physics.  Devices are being engineered at the atomic level. The number of technology options under investigation is increasing as the probability of technical and commercial success of any of them is becoming less and less certain.  Thermo Fisher Scientific provides the most advanced toolsets that enable this advanced R&D to continue on the 10, 7 and even the sub 7nm technology nodes.

Process Development and Yield Ramp

Time to market is becoming crucial for the commercial success of mobile electronic devices.  Time to yield is critical to generate the required return on investment  and commercial success of each product.  Yield analysis at many of the steps in the manufacture of a semiconductor device used to be monitored by visual or SEM based tool sets, but these are now increasingly dependent on feedback and metrology from TEM images.  Thermo Fisher Scientific is enabling this transition from SEM to TEM with new high productivity tool workflows which provide the lowest possible cost per TEM sample.

High Volume Manufacturing

Producers of components for the consumer microelectronics industry face increasingly challenging processes which require very precise and repeatable yield control.  Thermo Fisher Scientific produces dedicated workflow solutions which enable high performance yield characterization for the data storage and semiconductor markets.

Electrical Failure Analysis

Shrinking technologies, new materials, and more complex structures are driving defectivity, especially where the circuit design is particularly sensitive to process variation. These non-visual defects reveal themselves as electrical faults that downgrade device performance, threaten reliability, and destroy yield. The problem becomes even more complex when failures occur at the device packaging stage. High-density interconnects, wafer-level stacking, flexible electronics, and integral substrates mean that failure-inducing defects have more places to hide-making characterization more difficult, and more critical, than ever.

Thermo Fisher Scientific's automated mineralogy workflows are transforming productivity for mining customers by delivering relevant answers when, where, and how they are needed. With Thermo Fisher Scientific, customers accelerate analysis, reduce analysis costs, and increase throughput to more easily make critical characterization and production decisions. Whether in a centralized lab or at the mine, or production site, Thermo Fisher Scientific customers move from questions to answers with user-friendly solutions for anyone.

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Mining using Electron Microscopy

Mineralogy and ore texture are increasingly critical attributes that affect the ability of mining companies to extract base and precious elements from ores both economically and sustainably. A thorough understanding of ore mineralogy and texture will continue to play an increasingly important role, from upstream ore characterization, metallurgical testing and flow sheet design, to mineral processing. Textural properties of ores typically feature microscopic, sometimes nanoscopic, attributes; hence ore characterization, metallurgical testing and mineral processing are prime use cases for Thermo Fisher Scientific's mining imaging solutions.

Geosciencies using Electron Microscopy

Geoscientists have been examining and describing rocks for over 150 years, ever since the advent of light microscopes and petrographic thin-sections in the 1850's. The goal today remains much the same. By making detailed observations of a rock's mineralogy and microstructure, it is possible to unravel its history. However, with the advent of advanced geochemical methodologies becoming more mainstream in petrological studies (such as isotopic  and trace element analysis ), the power of petrography to reveal features of interest is often overlooked. Furthermore, learning to identify minerals optically takes time and considerable practice. However, with our automated mineralogy solutions, geoscientsists can now efficiently, objectively, and quantitatively map materials.

Oil & Gas using Electron Microscopy

As demand for oil and gas increases and reserves are depleted, the need for more efficient and effective ways to extract hydrocarbons is imperative. Thermo Fisher Scientific''s Oil and Gas business, featuring Digital Rock Technology and Solutions, informs economic decisions by providing new insights into mechanisms that control reservoir flow throughout the lifecycle of the asset. By understanding pore-scale rock features, we deliver qualitative and quantitative solutions to complex reservoir challenges.